Six Sidekicks for Free

Rico Graupner
2017, Audio equipment, cabinet, beetles

The artwork explores the space between natural soundscapes and intentional methods of composition. A playground is offered between randomness and determinacy, where different questions about human perception and the originality of acoustic experiences are posed.
The installation presents an automaton, consisting of weevils (Acanthoscelides obtectus) in a formicarium, sensors, different loudspeakers, and custom-made software, which, as a whole, result in a sort of audio microscope and aleatoric sound machine. It samples sounds from insects and their environment; thus, the soundscape of their habitat is enlarged and transferred to ours. Additionally, by coupling their motion patterns with musical parameters, the software offers a number of automated options for controlling various signal processors that alter the acoustic space. In this scenario, the insects act as composers as well as musicians who create and modulate their musical piece in real-time.

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